Edge of Darkness

(Dir. Martin Campbell) (1985) Northern copper Ronnie Craven has picked up his daughter Emma from college and taken her home to eat ratatouille when a loony ex-con and informer jumps out of the bushes and shoots her dead, presumably meaning to kill the father. After (whilst still in?) the shock of this outrage, Craven starts to manifest numerous delusions, probably stemming from post traumatic stress disorder.  For example, he thinks he’s a tree!  He still converses with Emma.  He thinks the murder-gone-wrong was nothing more than a front for a vast, labyrinthine conspiracy by the dark forces of global nuclear…

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Dogville

(dir. Lars von Trier) (2003) Before he developed a cinematic messiah complex and turned out stuff such as Melancholia, Trier did some intriguing and dramatically satisfying work. If viewers can overlook staginess, this film is a gem, an Arthur-Miller-meets-Eugene-O’Neill tour in hell, with great turns by a really interesting cast. Not for all tastes. Ms Kidman’s momentous philosophical discussion with Mr Caan at finale a highlight.

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Doctor Faustus

(by Thomas Mann) Formidably long and deep, Mann’s novel was written from 1943 to 1947 and represents his “F.U” to Germany for feting Hitler and forgetting Mann. Still, Mann was right and this work is his masterpiece, one of the most authentic studies of genius.  Roger Scruton called it “Mann’s great valediction to Western culture.”

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